Fodor's Expert Review Ramnagar Fort and Palace

Varanasi Castle/Palace

Across the Ganges from the river ghats is the 17th-century, red sandstone palace of the Maharaja of Varanasi, who still lives here (if the flag is up, he's in residence) and performs ceremonial and charitable functions. Inside, there are some interesting collections—stop at the Durbar Hall and the Royal Museum—but the place is sadly run-down and the objects are not well maintained. It's sort of fascinating, though, to see the state of decay: a case full of beautiful black musical instruments, for example, is so completely white with dust and the case so covered with grime that it's almost impossible to see anything, and the royal costumes are ratty. Still, there are palanquins and howdahs in ivory, goldplate, or silver (completely tarnished); old carriages and cars; furniture; portraits of maharajas; and arms from Africa, Burma, and Japan. The palace was built to resist the floods of the monsoon, which play havoc with the city side of the river. (It should cost about Rs. 1200 to... READ MORE

Across the Ganges from the river ghats is the 17th-century, red sandstone palace of the Maharaja of Varanasi, who still lives here (if the flag is up, he's in residence) and performs ceremonial and charitable functions. Inside, there are some interesting collections—stop at the Durbar Hall and the Royal Museum—but the place is sadly run-down and the objects are not well maintained. It's sort of fascinating, though, to see the state of decay: a case full of beautiful black musical instruments, for example, is so completely white with dust and the case so covered with grime that it's almost impossible to see anything, and the royal costumes are ratty. Still, there are palanquins and howdahs in ivory, goldplate, or silver (completely tarnished); old carriages and cars; furniture; portraits of maharajas; and arms from Africa, Burma, and Japan. The palace was built to resist the floods of the monsoon, which play havoc with the city side of the river. (It should cost about Rs. 1200 to take a taxi here and have him wait for an hour or two; negotiate beforehand.) Note that the fort is closed to visitors during monsoon season if the weather is bad.

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Castle/Palace

Quick Facts

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh  221002, India

542-250–5033-tourism office

Sight Details:
Rate Includes: Rs. 150

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